In Perpetual Contact : Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance, the authors bring up an interesting idea revolving around the “absent presence” that technology instills upon us. The authors mention the idea that the Internet may be resulting in a large-scale devaluation of the depths of our relationship. More specifically, this reading links increased technology usage with higher divorce rates and young adults getting married later and later every year.
This seems like somewhat of a cop out; it’s easy to blame our relationship problems with the growing age of Internet use and time spent online. But just because there is correlation doesn’t necessarily mean there’s causation. A video from BrainCraft actually suggests the opposite idea.
This video presents some interesting statistics and ideas. A study suggests that increased social media use among couples actually resulted in greater intimacy among those with attachment anxiety. While we may expect “jealous” individuals to be more anxious when their partners use social media, the opposite actually tends to be true. Essentially, those with attachment anxiety use their phone in order to seek more attachment from their partner, and studies have suggested that that does lead to more intimacy. The video also sites a statistic that 74% of married couples saw either no impact or a positive impact in regards to technology usage and their relationships.
The video also suggests another idea: phone use and social media engagement lets us tell and relive our stories with our significant others. In a sense, we’re reminded of the times spent with our lovers when we see these memories in digital form, and we can all attest to those in relationships actively displaying their love on social media platforms through Instagram pictures, Facebook memories, and other forms of digital affection.
A woman in this video sums up this idea nicely. She says the Internet and social media are “tools that enable your behavior. It’s not the Internet; it’s you.” This is an interesting thought, and it makes sense: a phone can not ruin your relationship, but you can as a result of your behavior. If you let social media impact your relationship in a positive and healthy way, there should be no reason to remove phone usage from your love life at all.